Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by noggin1969, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    As the title suggests every location has its " stories " about WW2. I was ask if I could trace a local story about a tank that supposedly crashed through a bridge and into the river killing the crew. The bridge in question is Kelham bridge over the river Trent on the A617 ( still an accident black spot ) just outside Newark. Now everyone I can think of has heard the story but don't have any details ( like most folklore ) I can not find any details of any military vehicle crashing on the bridge. I did find the story of 2 RE's who drowned while on a bridge building exercise a little up stream and were pulled out on Teal's wharf next to the bridge. If anybody has come across details. All local burials are accounted for in other incidents although any casualties may have been returned to their families.
  2. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Friday 30th April 1943
    Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 22.44.10.png
    Nottingham Evening Post 3rd May 1943

    3461083 ALLEN Thomas L/Cpl. 143rd (9th Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers) Regt. R.A.C.

    3458936 BURTON Norman Sgt. 143rd (9th Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers) Regt. R.A.C.


    4616275 CROSSLEY Clement Trooper 143rd (9th Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers) Regt. R.A.C.

    7948890 EAST James Robert Trooper 143rd (9th Bn. The Lancashire Fusiliers) Regt. R.A.C


    Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 23.36.37.png

    Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 23.10.34.png
    Nottingham Journal 4th May 1943
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  3. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Would they have been training on Churchills at the time ?
  4. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Churchills had a 5 man crew, so my feeling is that this was a Covenanter training tank, which did have a 4 man crew, as in this case.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Guy, how were you able to find that so (apparently) easily?
  6. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Brilliant , couldn't find anything in the 2 local papers. 4 more I can add to the towns Roll of Honour.
  7. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  8. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    If they took the bend too fast, a Covenanter or other cruiser sounds a better bet than a Churchill
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Guy as ever well done and thank you for resolving this story

    noggin1969 likes this.
  10. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Yes there are still many accidents , at least one a month usually HGV's "meeting" on the the bend and the odd drunk driver that still drives through the wall. Although it has been a few years since someone has completely gone through and had to swim ashore.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  11. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    I don`t think it was a tank . I thought there was another thread on here somewhere about the same incident ? I think it was an Armoured Car of some description however on the Calderdale Roll of Honour it states it was a lorry?

    Trooper Clement Crossley ,8 St Luke's St, Claremount, Halifax. Married to Lily. Worked for J & A Binns, wire manufacturer. Enlisted September 1939 into Duke of Wellingtons .Present at Dunkirk evacuated .Transferred 9th Lanc Fus (143 R.A.C) No 4616275. Killed with 3 others
    when lorry fell into Trent at Kelham Bridge, Newark. Buried Stoney Royd
    (IWG). Aged 29. (C&G 8th May l943}

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
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  12. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Just a theory but :
    108 RAC moved to Rufford Abbey in June 1942. In October 1942, 10th Tank Brigade was attached to 48th South Midlands Division , a Reserve infantry division tasked with holding and training reinforcements. In December the Brigade and its regiments were given the role of producing drafts for RAC units serving overseas. Consequently, in January 1943 108 RAC reorganised into three training wings:
    • Wireless
    • Gunnery
    • Driving and Maintenance
    The regiment now held a very mixed collection of tanks, including Cruiser MkI , MkII , MkIIa , MkIII and MkIV , Covenanters, Valentine and Churchill infantry tanks, and later some Sherman V. Throughout 1943, men were posted into the regiment from RAC training regiments, and posted out to drafts for overseas service. If they made the mistake ( that drivers still do now ) in the dark and headed up the A617 instead of the A616 they would have expected a straight road up to the Abbey and not a sharp left hand bend over a bridge
  13. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    The Nottingham Journal report says "a vehicle". Unless there was some wartime restriction on giving better details, the eyewitness would have known it was a tank and said so, as a vehicle implies wheels rather than tracks...
    Wiki doesn't help
    4 men in a lorry sounds cramped, and you'd expect at least one to have been able to get out. Not so easy in a rank, especially if overturned in deep water. At least, that's my feeling
  14. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    If heading towards Thoresby they had taken the wrong road and should have been on the A616. Between Farnsfield , Rufford Estate and the Thoresby Estates and what was the old Proteus Camp on the Sheffield Road was used for tank training. I have 3 Army and NFS dispatch riders listed killed in collisions with armour on them roads. As the roads were laid out then , they had taken 1st left instead of 2nd left after crossing the level crossing out of town.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
  15. I am a grandson of Clement crossleys brother. I recently spoke to Clements son although he was a baby when Clement died he told me he was in a recovery vehicle . Clement was traveling in the rear and couldn't escape despite being a great swimmer. He swam to a boat to leave Dunkirk.
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I know this bridge very well having used it many times over the years travelling to Southwell and Staythorpe has a dangerous turn left on to the bridge and can catch people out if they are unfamiliar with the layout. I thought that has been revealed that the vehicle would be travelling from Newark and ran off the bridge on the northern side into the river.

    Had the vehicle being travelling from the west through Kelham village,the vehicle would have had to take a sharp right turn and a serous error would have resulted in it running into a field beyond the east side of the bridge.The river here is a non navigable part of the Trent which loops around the main Trent river course and joins the main course just north of the town....never seen any river traffic on it.

    Newark was a town where due to the number of airfields around it,it was a favourite drinking hole for the RAF.....Ossington OTU,Winthorpe OTU and Balderton. There is a small building on the town roundabout,which carried the old A1 through the town which clearly in black lettering was displayed "Ossington"...thought to be the pick up point for transport to Ossington although it could also have been the office of the Ossington SPs who were tasked with keeping the peace in such towns.

    I wonder if the soldiers had been for a night out in Newark.

    The Trent has seen many tragedies over the years.North of Newark is the Cromwell Weir,an exercise by territorials in September 1975, led to 10 drownings out of 11 soldiers on exercise when their assault boat was swept over the weir.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  17. I was told they were out in a couple of vehicles , one of which broke down and Clements vehicle was going back to assist when the accident happened. Does anyone know if there's any pictures. Maybe in a newspapers from where the men were from. Clements was from Claremont in Halifax....
  18. Can anyone who has access to war records see if they can find a picture of Clement crossley.
  19. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Why not get a monthly subscription yourself?
    Look through the archives of the paper(s) near where he lived, that's probably the best chance of finding a photo of him.
    We can help point you in the right direction, but there's no substitute for the pleasure of finding things yourself.
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

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